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Match Reports

Chesterfield 3-1 Notts

25 March 2018

Notts County were beaten 3-1 by Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium.

The hosts took a two-goal lead into the break thanks to Sid Nelson and Zavon Hines before Dan Jones came off the bench late in the second half and marked his return to his former club with a goal from a free-kick.

But it wasn’t to be for Notts, who conceded a penalty deep into stoppage time and saw Krystian Dennis wrap the game up from the spot.

Kevin Nolan was forced to make one change to the side that drew with Mansfield Town last weekend.

Ben Hall, away with Northern Ireland Under 21s, was replaced by Shaun Brisley in the heart of defence.

And, shortly after Louis Reed had seen a 25-yard shot blocked, Brisley nearly gave Notts the lead when he sent a looping header goalwards. Home keeper Aaron Ramsdale backpedalled to tip the ball over the bar.

There was nothing Ramsdale’s opposite number, Adam Collin, could do on 16 minutes however when Nelson’s bundled finish from a corner gave the Spireites the lead.

After play resumed, Richard Duffy made a good interception to prevent Dennis being played in before Shola Ameobi almost benefited from a lucky bounce only to see the ball reach Ramsdale’s grateful grasp.

It had been a sub-par first half from the Magpies but they created a golden opportunity to equalise seven minutes before the break when Jon Stead curled a dangerous cross into the middle. Elliott Hewitt timed his run perfectly to meet the ball eight yards out but could only nod it wide.

And, a minute later, Notts were punished not only for that missed opportunity but also for a botched clearance which cleared the path for Hines to fire the ball beyond Collin from inside the area.

Hines looked to add a third shortly before the interval, twisting and turning his way past Matt Tootle before sending the ball over the bar from a narrow angle.

2-0 was how it stayed going into the break but, shortly after play resumed, Hines once again came close to extending his side’s lead when he fired the ball into the side-netting on the pivot.

Alex Whitmore headed wide from a corner as the hosts continued to assert their authority, although Notts had a half-chance on 50 minutes when, with Spirites keeper Ramsdale floored in the area, Terry Hawkridge’s lob into the dangerzone was dealt with by the panicked Spireites defence.

That was to be Hawkridge’s final contribution as he was replaced by Lewis Alessandra three minutes later.

Notts’ next chance soon followed, Jorge Grant dinking the ball over for Stead to run on to. The forward held off his marker to give himself a tricky shooting chance but could only spoon the ball high and wide with his weaker left foot.

Stead’s name was taken shortly after the hour for a late tackle on Nelson which sparked a brief spell of handbags between both sets of players.

Andy Kellett fired the ball over from the edge of the area before Nelson needed lengthy treatment following another collision with a Notts man. He was deemed fit to continue.

Nolan’s next change came on 72 minutes when Matty Virtue replaced Liam Noble in central midfield. Jones replaced Carl Dickinson nine minutes later.

Time was running out for Notts, who won a free-kick down the right when Ameobi was scythed down by Whitmore, who was booked.

Jones took charge, whipping the ball towards the far post. The ball sailed over everyone and into the far corner, throwing Notts a lifeline.

Chesterfield came within inches of immediately regaining their lead when Krystian Dennis’ deflected effort bobbled just past the post.

Moments later, Collin made a tremendous reflex save to keep Hines’ header out before the Spireites created another chance which resulted in Kellett firing the ball into the side-netting.

Nine minutes were added on at the end of the match but there was to be no happy ending for the Magpies, as Tootle brought Kellett down in the area to give Dennis the opportunity to finish the game off from 12 yards.

The forward did just that, ensuring the game ended 3-1 to the hosts.

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